BOSTON — The Rays planned to spend a lot of time discussing their pitching options for Monday’s fourth, and potentially final, game of the American League Division Series.
Likely more hours than they have options.
“I’m sure we’ll have a lot of discussions into the night and into (Monday),” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’ll find a way to piece it together.”
The Rays used nine pitchers in Sunday’s 13-inning, 6-4 loss, including Luis Patino, who they were expecting to play a big role Monday. Now Collin McHugh and Michael Wacha, who had a rough outing Friday, are lined up to handle the bulk of the innings.
Cash said he was confident that several of the relievers who had light workloads Sunday would also be available to some degree. That group likely includes Josh Fleming (12 pitches), Andrew Kittredge (16), Pete Fairbanks (19), J.P. Feyereisen (11), Matt Wisler (seven) and JT Chargois (20). He said they had had no talks — “as of this moment” — of bringing back either of the rookies who started Games 1 and 2, Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz.
“We’re going to prioritize each individual pitcher, check on them, see how they’re doing, and then go from there,” Cash said. “I’m sure we’ll discuss many options over the next couple hours.”
Boston manager Alex Cora said they “most likely” will go back to lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who started Game 1 on Thursday and worked only 1 2/3 innings.
Sticking with Wisler
Though acknowledging they will have to “manage” Wisler’s recurring middle finger issue, Cash said before Sunday’s game that they still think he is worth keeping on the active roster, and his efficient work Sunday, four outs on seven pitches, seemed to indicate he was okay. The Rays could request permission to replace Wisler, and have reliever Louis Head in Boston or could fly in someone capable of covering more innings (such as Dietrich Enns or Ryan Yarbrough), but would then lose Wisler for the next round if they advance.
“As we stand right now, he’s just too valuable to go away (from),” Cash said. “I know the (Game 2) outing didn’t turn (out) the way we wanted, but he’s really good when he’s right.”
The Rays have been the guests five times previously on the day of the Boston Marathon, including the tragic bombing in 2013. And with this year’s marathon moved to the fall due to the pandemic, they are the guests again Monday, though with a 7:07 p.m. start rather than the traditional 11 a.m.
“It’s exciting for Boston,” said Cash, who joked pre-game a pulled calf was all that kept him from running the 26.2 miles. “It should be just fun all the way around.”
• The walkoff loss was the Rays’ fourth in postseason play, and second in Boston (Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS). They also lost that way in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series at Philadelphia), and Game 5 of the 2020 ALCS against the Astros in San Diego. … Sunday was the Rays’ second extra-inning postseason game, also a 9-8, 11-inning win over the Red Sox in Game 2 of the 2008 ALCS.
• Red Sox manager Alex Cora got a “good luck” text from Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Asked by a Boston writer if he had heard from Bucs, and former Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady: “No,” Cash said. “But if I do, I’m going to ask if I can go on his boat.”
• Umpiring crew chief Sam Holbrook said they appreciated the invite to the interview room to clarify the controversial call on Kevin Kiermaier’s ground-rule double: “I really appreciate you letting us come in here and explain the rule. A lot of times that doesn’t happen and things get messed up, but I really appreciate it.”
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